Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Harvey Murray Glatman: First of the Signature Killers

Interrogation & Confession

"Tell us, you SOB, tell us what you know about those other girls!"

Harvey, exhausted after hours of grilling attempted once again to lay his head on the briefing table, but one of the detectives yanked him back up by the collar. "No shuteye 'till you speak up, Harve!"

Around him were four plainclothesmen, scowling, determined, hovering, smothering him, all representing various sectors of the local law enforcement bodies that had had enough of women disappearing from their midst. They had gathered there, in the Orange County jail in Santa Ana to corner a rat. Sergeants Pierce Brooks and Elmer Jackson were there from the LAPD gunning for information on Ruth Mercado and Shirley Bridgeford; Captain Jim Bradford and Detective John Lawton from the Sheriff's Office insisting that he knew what happened to Judith Ann Dull.

"You fit the description of the punk who took away Bridgeford," Brooks reminded him. "What the hell did you do to her, where is she?"

"And tell us where Judy Dull is, Harvey," Bradford urged. "You killed her, you know you killed her."

"Tell us about the rope we found in your car, and the switchblade in your pocket, and the pop gun you held on Miss Vigil tonight!" Lawton slammed his fist onto the table. "Did you strangle the others with that rope, did you stab'em, or did you shoot'em?"

"You have a record in Colorado and in New York, too, Harvey," Bradford pummeled. "All about harassing women. You like to harass women, don't you, Harvey?"

"Speak up, SOB, 'cause we know you did it!" Jackson shouted. "We know you're the one...glasses, rumpled hair, rumpled clothes, and even a camera in your car! Yeah, a camera!"

"Camera!" Brooks echoed. "The guy who killed Mercado was supposed to have been a photographer are you a photographer, Harvey? Is that how you lured all these girls to their death? You shot'em with your camera then with your .32?"

No no no, Harvey shook his head and thought to himself, that's not what I did but damn you're getting close!

White lights, bright lights, incessant, unending bright lights in his face, first that squad car, now the snake lamps in his face. Giving him a headache. Temples throbbed. Mouth parched. And the hammering, hammering, hammering of fists beating war-time in front of him. The hammering and the nudging and the shoving and the yelling:

Tell us, Harvey, where are the girls?

Where did ya' kill the girls, Harvey??"

     How did ya' kill the girls, Harvey???

         When did ya' kill the girls, Harvey????"

"ALL RIGHT, I KILLED'EM, KILLED'EM ALL...." He collapsed across the table, sobbing. "You know I killed'em, there's no way you could've known unless you found the toolbox...."

"The toolbox?" asked Brooks.

"The one in my house with the pictures...the dead girls...that's where I hid them...the my toolbox...You know what I mean, you're just playing with me now."

Brooks and the others shared agreeing glances, and understood. They now pretended to know about the toolbox, where obviously the incriminating evidence lay, so that Harvey would go on to officially confess to the murders. In the meantime, police were dispatched to the Glatman apartment with an order to find the damning object and bring it back.

Later that evening, the prisoner admitted what he had done. As if his testimony wasn't shocking enough, the terrible essence of exactly what he had done was caught in black and white to send a shiver down the spines of those who saw them.

"They were images of Glatman's detailed methodology of murder, which showed a sequence of terror by re-creating the entire psychological arc of the crime" Dr. Robert Keppel explains in Signature Killers. "He first photographed each victim with a look of innocence on her face as if she were truly enjoying a modeling session. The next series represented a sadist's view of a sexually terrorized victim with the impending horror of a slow and painful death etched across her face. The final frame depicted the victim's position that Glatman himself had arranged after he strangled her. (These were) the central phases of Glatman's signature of serial murder...His only motive from the outset was to torture and punish them before and after death."

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